Improvements to the cramped intersection of Jim Crow and McEver roads in Flowery Branch are scheduled to be finished before the end of the month.
The intersection north of downtown Flowery Branch has been an issue for the South Hall city for years, causing traffic problems for residents and stirring strong feelings from city officials who feel the intersection is unsafe. Construction finally began in July.
The $1.4 million project led by Hall County will add right- and left-turn lanes at all points of the intersection to relieve congestion, which has been getting worse as South Hall has grown.
Hall County engineer Denise Farr told members of the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization on Tuesday that Hall County engineers “hope that will be completed by the end of November.”
Jim Crow Road becomes Gainesville Street going south from the intersection.
It will be a long-overdue improvement for the area, which includes subdivisions and access to Lake Lanier on the north end of Jim Crow Road, schools and businesses not far from the intersection itself and downtown Flowery Branch to the south along Gainesville Street.
“It would get congested and backed up,” said Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller on Tuesday. “And with no dedicated turn lanes, you’d have folks sitting and waiting needlessly.”
With traffic backed up waiting to make left turns, Miller said school buses were having to make “suicide left turns” across oncoming traffic.
New homes are being built in the area of the intersection, Miller noted, saying the project’s completion was coming at a good time and was “vital” for the city.
The $1.4 million project was funded by special purpose local option sales tax revenue from the county and Flowery Branch. It includes new signals, lanes, pedestrian signs and ramps.
Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew has said the project was decades in the making.
“We’ve been working, in some sense, you could say 20 or 30 years on trying to get turn lanes on McEver Road,” Andrew said in March to a group of area road planners.
Utility relocation had held up the project in recent years, according to Hall County Public Works, but the project was back on track during the summer.
Miller noted that, unlike the multimillion-dollar, yearslong Spout Springs Road widening project, he saw the intersection improvements at Jim Crow Road, McEver Road and Gainesville Street as a “quick fix.”
“Obviously it took longer than we hoped,” he added.